Daniel Chance, sr., Free State High
This year’s All-Area Player of the Year finished the season with 11 goals and six assists. His importance to the team went well beyond that. Arguably the best player in school history, Chance consistently led the Firebirds on the field, played whatever position the team needed and paced Free State to its best finish in school history. First-team all-league, all-region and all-state as a junior and senior and all-area player of the year in 2008 as well.
Diego Gonzalez, jr., Free State High
There were no two ways about it; Gonzalez was a dangerous weapon up top for the Firebirds this fall and everybody knew it. A dynamic goal scorer who always was a threat to score a goal or set one up with his ball skills, Gonzalez tallied 16 scores and added six assists for the Firebirds this season, en route to helping lead the team to its first ever appearance in the state title game.
Alan Hornbaker, sr., Free State High
Tough, strong center back who was key to the Firebirds’ success this season. During his first season as a starter, Hornbaker helped the team achieve 11 shutouts this season. He earned first-team all-Sunflower League honors for his play and FSHS coach Jason Pendleton called him the primary reason for the defense’s success.
John Mehl, sr., Perry-Lecompton High
The senior captain finished 2009 with 13 goals and nine assists and earned first-team all-Kaw Valley League honors. He was one of the most consistent performers on a team that outscored opponents 60-21 during 2009. All-area honor adds to a long list of accolades that he’s racked up since 2007, including a second-team all-state nod in 2008.
Riley Shafer, sr., Perry-Lecompton High
Kaws’ senior captain scored 12 goals and added three assists this season. He earned first-team all-KVL honors and was voted the team MVP. A starter since 2006, Shafer has earned numerous accolades throughout his career, including being a three-team all-central regional selection.
Braden Ward, sr., Ottawa High
According to his coach, Ward was a dangerous weapon for the Cyclones at both forward and midfielder. Technically sound with the ball and deadly on free kicks, Ward had the ability to take over a game when he wanted to. He finished the season with eight goals and nine assists, demonstrating that there was more to his game than just being a dominant scorer.
Duncan Henderson, sr., De Soto High
Henderson benefited most from his incredible soccer IQ. Since moving him to sweeper prior to his junior season, the Wildcats surrendered just 26 goals in 36 games. He was a part of 19 shutouts in a two year period and chipped in with a goal and three assists during the 2009 season.
Sammy Seibolt, sr., De Soto High
Seibolt, a team captain, was another force for the De Soto defense. Known throughout the league as a lockdown defender, he more often than not came away with the ball when opponents attacked on his side of the field. He added two goals — both off free kicks — and two assists to his defensive stats to help lead the Wildcats throughout the season.
Tyler Buffkin, sr., De Soto High
The Wildcats’ goalkeeper faced 83 shots and made 68 saves during 2009. He recorded eight shutouts in 18 games and even chipped in with one assist. In replacing one of the top keepers in the metro area, Buffkin made sure the Wildcats did not miss a beat in the net. Finished ’09 just two saves away from setting the school record for shutouts in a season.
Keaton Schaffer, sr., Tonganoxie High
Schaffer was a team leader for the Chieftains during 2009 in more ways than one. He stood out for his aggressive and advanced play, led with his attitude and experience and was the anchor of the Tonganoxie defense, which helped the Chieftains compete with just about every team they faced this season.
Honorable Mention: Colton Miller, Perry-Lecompton High; David Wilson and Shane Steelman, Ottawa High; Jake Willis and Marcus Titterington, Tonganoxie High; Octavio Villa, Jordan Slater, Jordan Riffel, Brett Hevel, Alex Henning and John Williams, De Soto High; Tony Libeer, Tyler Smith, Preston Newsome and Jackson McClure, Free State High; Tor Fornelli, Will Burg and Matthias Reiber, Lawrence.